THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 7, 2006

Silk chiffon bindings

Filed under: Couture Techniques — georgene @ 9:30 am

Bias finished seams are a couture mainstay. While not necessarily the most low bulk finish, there is nothing more elegant than an unlined garment underlined in silk organza with bias finished seams.
I am puzzled by the term “Hong Kong finish” for this technique, since I learned it while studying haute couture with Armande Gogel at the Ecole des Cadres Couture in Paris.
A version of this technique is to use the bias to finish the edge of the garment. Recently I found myself pondering what do do with an uncooperative metallic mesh fabric. It was like sewing on a screen door. Not your ordinary mesh or tulle, this fabric is stiff, with giant holes. Everything shows, no matter what you do. Using self fabric was not the solution. And nothing seemed to match the color. I was getting very depressed and frustrated trying to find a finish worthy of the fabric and style when I finally found some iridescent silk chiffon that worked.

For this particular application, I cut bias strips 1 3/4″ wide. Since the nature of silk chiffon is to slide all over the place, I used a paper underlay and overlay to keep the fabric from going off grain while cutting. I stitched the folded bias to the edge of the neckline on the right side, with all edges together, using a 1/8″ seam. After pressing the folded bias away from the body towards the edge, I turned the folded edge of the bias to the inside, with a few pins to ‘help’.

In the real world of haute couture this would be hand sewn with tiny stitches, but since I would like the garment to retail for something more affordable I ran a ‘stitch in the ditch’ along the top edge, catching the fold underneath. Even with years of experience and having the feel of it in my fingertips, I do still miss some spots and have to go back and re-do small sections. Oh well.

Why, you may ask, not use a binder? I am too old school to even think of using this solution. I would be terrified of stretching out the neckline in the fabric. Donald Rumsfeld’s term “running around with [my] hair on fire” comes to mind. Here is a photo of the first one, a prototype, for my small holiday production lot.



  1. Beautifully elegant, Georgene!

    Comment by Gigi — October 7, 2006 @ 10:58 am

  2. Love it!

    Comment by nanflan — October 7, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  3. Yes, I will steal that! …A line of your own? now that is something to get really excited about!

    Comment by Lisette — October 7, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  4. This looks lovely. I can’t wait to see the whole thing. And thank you for admitting to having to re-do small sections. Now I know I’m in good company.

    Comment by Sarah — October 7, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

  5. Wow! This has just given me the ammunition I need to make (and finish) an outfit from a mesh I bought from Kashi – you have that mesh, Georgene – it’s the bronze embroidered mesh he had last year. I bought a deep red silk charmeuse to underline, but I think it will make the bindings. Thank you!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — October 7, 2006 @ 7:20 pm

  6. Yes, Ann, this is one of the Kashi mesh embroidered fabrics. A fine mesh I have gotten myself in! I have waaay too much of it and so I am making a few pieces to sell this holiday season, to move it out of my stash and try and recoup some of my massive investment in beaded embroidered fabrics that I will never use.

    Comment by Georgene — October 7, 2006 @ 8:18 pm

  7. Your prototype is beautiful and elegant Georgene.I hope you will have lots of success with selling your own small line of gorgeous garments.
    Like you I never use the binder foot , I too prefer to do it the old fashioned way.

    Comment by Els — October 8, 2006 @ 9:07 am

  8. Very lovely. You have started me percolating again with this lovely sheer coat and it’s embellishments. Lots of neat ideas are now floating about my head. Thanks!

    Comment by Summerset — October 8, 2006 @ 10:48 am

  9. Georgene, if you need to move some beaded, embroidered fabrics perhaps the rest of us could help you do that. 😉 Anything for a friend and all that.

    Comment by Gigi — October 8, 2006 @ 11:46 am

  10. Absolutely stunning, Georgene. Wish I could have something like that for the New Year’s Eve ball!


    Comment by Anonymous — October 8, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

  11. Really beautiful!

    Comment by Kelly — October 9, 2006 @ 6:59 am

  12. That is perfectly lovely!

    Comment by Cindy — October 9, 2006 @ 7:08 am

  13. *
    I want one, please.


    Comment by dhyana — October 9, 2006 @ 9:22 am

  14. First off: Stunning!
    Second: congrats and best wishes on the new line … may you divest yourself of all that beading!
    Third: there is a binder foot? oh my … I may have to search to see if I can find one for my old Singer …

    Serisouly, though, thanks for sharing this with us. I always liek to learn new things!

    Comment by Lorna Newman — October 10, 2006 @ 6:46 am

  15. Thanks so much for sharing this idea with us — it has so many applications! The best of luck with your garments — the prototype is holiday-perfect!

    Comment by Nina — October 10, 2006 @ 10:49 am

  16. Absolutely beautiful!

    Comment by Maja — October 13, 2006 @ 1:28 am

  17. I succumbed to this same “Kashi” fabric recently. I just loved the fabric, but wasn’t sure what I would do with it. Now, I have an idea. I appreciate the tutorial on how to bind this fabric! Thanks.

    Comment by Barbara at Cat Fur Studio — October 20, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

  18. thanks for all the tips on your blog 🙂

    i’m curious about this paris’ Ecole des Cadres Couture
    i can’t find any other info on them. are they retired now?
    for paris couture schools, it seems the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne is the only one around

    Comment by gius — June 16, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    • Alas, Ecole Cadres Couture is no more. You can go to the Chambre Syndicale,or check out the more mainstream ESMOD.

      Comment by georgene — June 16, 2009 @ 12:38 am

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